Utah passes harsh penalties for protesting at oil pipeline sites

By Lauren Gilger
Published: Thursday, March 30, 2023 - 11:41am

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Dakota Access Pipeline protest downtown Phoenix
Bri Cossavella/Cronkite News
Demonstrators protest the Dakota Access Pipeline in downtown Phoenix in 2016.

The protests at Standing Rock over the Dakota Access pipeline became a cultural touchstone for the fight for indigenous rights and environmental justice as hundreds of tribes from across the country came together in solidarity in 2016 and 2017.

Since then, a growing number of states have passed laws creating stiffer penalties for protesting at what’s called critical infrastructure sites — places like oil and gas facilities, railroads and power plants.

Utah, our neighbor to the north, just became the 19th state to pass such a law. The Show spoke more about it with Naveena Sadasivam, senior staff writer for environmental news nonprofit Grist.

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